Friday, August 21, 2009

Fortunately for us, he amended the punctuation in this one. - Sasha

I'm in Yushu, Qinghai province, at about 3600 metres altitude. I was suckered by the altitude sickness (headache, shortness of breath) from a 15-hour bus ride at close to 4000 metres into accepting a filthy three-bed room for $8. So I had three beds, all of them dirty. I used my backpack for a pillow and moved out first thing this morning.

There's no love lost between Tibetans and the Chinese. I thought they were kind of ambivalent towards each other now, but Tibetans take the chances they get to express their resentment towards the Chinese. They do it using the pinky, which indicates insignificance or something. The pinky is a big thing. The index finger is good, the pinky is bad and something that's okay is, well, the middle finger. I asked a police officer I met how he liked his job. He said it wasn't great (holding up his index finger), not bad (holding up his pinky), just okay (holding up his middle finger). I laughed and he laughed, and I had no way of asking whether or not he understood what the middle finger meant in English.

The last town I was in was Ganzi, which was very friendly. The Tibetan women that ran the hotel asked me to come and chat. Only one of them spoke English, so in her absence, we talked a little bit in Chinese, and then they stared at me. When I mentioned I worked in Korea, they brought in a Korean for me to talk to. Then they stared.

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